The District of Summerland will be reviewing the staff recommendation to deny a business license after finding charges

Old charges deny licence?

The District of Summerland will be deciding on a business licence application at Monday’s meeting, where staff are directing them to deny it since the applicant was convicted in 2007 on charges relating to possession of stolen property and drug trafficking.

The applicant, Jan Demers, has proposed use of the property located on 9719 Brown Street as a healing centre, to be operated under the name “New Approach Healing Centre.” 

On the proposal, the business is described in further detail, with “The care that we are offering is on a holistic level. The objective is to have the individual heal from trauma and PTSD along with freedom from addiction. We will be offering individual counselling along with workshops regarding Trauma, PTSD and Addiction. We will be providing meals and housing to those in our program.”

District staff found while reviewing the application and completing the usual practice of referring business licence applications to the RCMP, the charges came to their attention.

The full charges are possession of stolen property over $5,000, trafficking in controlled substance and conspiracy relating to trafficking in controlled substance. 

Staff found these charges to be of concern with the business application, adding that it is not unreasonable for them to suggest the refusal of a licence since the reason is that the applicant had previously been convicted of an indictable offence.

“Needless to say, Ms. Demers' proposed clientele represent a vulnerable portion of society who deserve to be protected from improper influence. Given Ms. Demers prior convictions for possession of stolen property and drug trafficking, there is an increased risk that these individuals could be subject to improper influence,” the report reads.

“The close relationship between addiction and drug trafficking and stolen property cannot be ignored.”

In her letter to council, Demers acknowledged her past, stating that she in a 'little over a year was involved in the marijuana industry' and it 'was through this that my bad choice found me in trouble with the law.'

Demers presented nine character reference letters along with her application, some from clients and co-workers writing their support for her care and passion for those in need. They call her ‘selfless, kind hearted and a hard working member of the community.’

The letters also speak to her work with helping addicts in the community and previous successful programs she’s run.

But staff pointed out that Demers has not stated her expertise in relation to the services in taking care of the individuals who are at risk, nor information as to who will be providing the services and what expertise those individuals have.

From the review completed by district staff and in accordance with the District’s Business Licence Bylaw, the staff are recommending that Council deny the business licence application. 

Full details of the report will be heard on Monday.

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